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Form pretty much ruled the Tuesday afternoon harness racing meeting, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $166,874 New York Sire Stakes Mike Cipriani Trot for 3-year-old fillies. It certainly did in the second ($82,687) division, as Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $2.10) won as she pleased. Near the back off the early bus from position No. 5, she methodically moved to the lead just passing the half, then put the hammer down. The final margin was an unasked 5¼ lengths in 1:55.3. Northern Obsession (Tyler Buter) was a rallying second, with Zanna Blu (George Brennan) third. For Barn Doll, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (trainer) Steve Pratt & Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, it was her 10th win in a dozen seasonal starts (17-for-21 lifetime). The exacta paid $7.20, the triple returning $62 Form was also in play in the opening ($84,187) sire stakes event, as second choice Lady Winona (Miller)-from post No. 3--snapped pace-setting 6-5 choice Jewels in Hock (Jim Morrill Jr.) in an 1:55.3, two-speed number (no misprint, the winning times were identical). The margin here was three-quarters of a lengths. Frou Frou (Brennan) "won the bob" for third as the 52-1 rank outsider. For Lady Winona, a Credit Winner miss trained by Julie Miller for owner Stroy Inc. (which includes Ms. Miller), she's now 3-for-15 this season. The exacta paid $17.20, with the triple returning $459. The hard-working lass was second (ironically, beaten from the pocket) in this past Saturday night's final of the Hudson Filly Trot. Tuesday's sire stakes event honored the memory of Yonkers' longtime, award-winning track photographer, whose family-including son, Ralph-made the winner's circle presentations. Special Tuesday props to Grain of Truth (Jordan Stratton, $17.20) as the ageless (actually 14-year-old) gelding won the $19,000, fifth-race trot in 1:56.1 It was the 81st career win in 336 starts for the now-$1.5 million earner, owned by Charles Iannazzo and trained by Ray Schnittker. Frank Drucker

Harness racing at Yonkers Raceway bid adieu to August Monday night, hosting $165,375 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old pacing fillies.   The event, neatly divided into a trio of $55,125 divisions, honored the memory of a certified mover and shaker (as well as a fairly decent soul) in the state's racing and breeding program. Bruce's family was on hand for winner's circle presentations, which were dutifully given to... First division-Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore, $8.60), from post position No. 6, rallied from sixth turning for home to pick off sire-stakes debuting Mark MacDonald) by a head in 1:54.2. Bosser's Joy (Jason Bartlett) finished third, beaten a neck. For third choice Devil Child, a daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Homer Hochstetler, James Michaels and South of the Tracks Racing, it was her fourth win in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $109, with the triple returning $680. "She's had a tough season, bad posts and some bad luck," Whittemore said of Devil Child. "This was a good win for her." Second division-Odds-on Sassa Hanover (Yannick Gingras, $2.70) methodically disposed of her six foes, essentially going the distance-from post No, 5-in 1:52.1. The margin was a length-and-a-half, with Luck Be a Lindy (Scott Zeron) second and Heart Major (Brian Sears) third. For "Sassa," a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Panhellenic Stable and Larry Karr, she's now 4-for-12 this season. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $4.90, with the triple returning $14.60. "Much better the last couple of starts," was Gingras' assessment of career winner of more than $700,000. Third division-Pole-sitting Bedroomconfessions ( Brian Sears, $13.80) was gifted with the passing lane, and she passed, whipping pace-setting Band of Angels (Gingras) by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.1. Divine Caroline (Dave Miller), as the 6-5 choice, was another who pulled pocket and flattened, settling for third. Second choice Mosquito Blue Chip (Morrill Jr.) broke leaving. For Bedroomconfessions, an American Ideal lass co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by trainer Tony Alagna and Riverview Racing, it was her third win in 12 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $72, with the triple returning $169. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015 - New York did itself proud Saturday night, as harness racing Empire-breds won both $40,000 eliminations for Yonkers Trot No. 61. Yonkers Raceway's premier trotting event drew 11 3-year-olds-eight colts and three geldings-for the second jewel of that gait's Triple Crown. When the stone dust settled, it was a pair of Ron Burke entities, Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick, $5.30) and Habitat (Yannick Gingras, $6.30) who led the lads into next Saturday's (Sept. 5) half-million-dollar final. Saturday's first elim saw another statebred, Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), win the draw and the early battle. He seated everyone, including Crazy Wow from post position No. 2 and Hambletonian champ Pinkman (Gingras) next door in post No. 3. Buen Camino led through intervals of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.2, with 1-2 favorite Pinkman advancing from third. Pinkman then seemed to pull himself up, as Buen Camino owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane. Crazy Wow ducked in-cutting inside at least one pylon--and went by, whipping a resurgent Pinkman by a length in 1:55.4. The winner had to survive an inquiry before the result was certified. Buen Camino held third over a closing Workout Wonder (Dan Dube)-both getting berths in the final--with Wings of Royalty (catch-driver Brian Sears) last at every stations. For second choice Crazy Wow--last season's New York Sire Stakes frosh champ--a son of Crazed co-owned by Deo Volente Farms & Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva Stables, it was his sixth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with triple wagering not offered to the small field. "He was very good last week (winning Pocono's Colonial) and just as good tonight," Tetrick said. "Things were a bit tight in the last turn, but he needed to trot, he did." As for Pinkman, "He did start to get away from me a bit in the last turn, and I didn't want to lose him," Gingras said. "So I had to steady him, and showed his class by trotting well in the lane." Gingras had such issues with Habitat, who, after a brief seat third from post No. 5, went the distance (:29, :58.4, 1:27.2 1:55.3) in the second elimination. The job of the second choice was made much easier when 3-5 fave Centurion ATM (Ake Svanstedt) couldn't get out of his own way behind the and again past the half. The other Svanstedt-trained (though uncoupled) number, Southwind Mozart (Dan Dube) chased from a loose pocket, beaten a couple of lengths. Billy Flynn (Jason Bartlett) and French Laundry (Sears) also earned seats at next week's table, while Massive Lightning (Tyler Buter) and a foul-gaited Centurion ATM did not. For Habitat, a son of Conway Hall, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Our Horse Cents Stables, he's now 6-for-13 this season. The exacta paid $67, with the triple returning $287. "Once I saw (Centurion ATM) make a break, there was no reason not to cut the mile," Gingras said. "He was very good, no issues." Saturday night's $48,000 Open Handicaps were won by faves... --(Trot), Melady's Monet (Bartlett, $3.90) in 1:54.4; --(Pace), Dynamic Youth (George Brennan, $5.60) in 1:51. Special props to Take My Picture, the 8-year-old Classic Photo gelding whose third-place finish in the Open 'Cap Trot made him a career millionaire ($1,004,146). The open draws for both Yonkers Trot No. 61 and the $500,000 Messenger Stakes No. 60 (only eight entrants, so no elims) take place Tuesday morning. Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015 - Odds-on choice Purrfect Bags (Victor Kirby, $2.40) completed her Yonkers Raceway Lismore/Lady Maud personal stakes double Saturday night, winning the latter harness racing event in 1:53. The $116,430 Maud, which attracted just a half-dozen 3-year-old pacing fillies, saw Purrfect Bags in play early from post position No. 2. She retook from first leader Strut My Stuff (Jordan Stratton) just at the :27.3 opening quarter-mile, then found a rated :56.3 intermission. Bettor N Better (George Brennan) dropped the gloves, offering a hard challenge from fourth. Bettor N Better engaged the people's preference toward a 1:24.4 three-quarters, with Purrfect Bags ownING a stubborn, half-length lead into the lane. She then closed the sale, winning by a length in 1:53. Bettor N Better fought the good fight for second, with Strut My Stuff, Repeat Please (Yannick Gingras) and Cheyenne Robin (Dan Dube) coming away with the small change. Heaven on Earth (Tim Tetrick) lost the fifth-place photo and was left with only lovely parting gifts. For Purrfect Bags, a daughter of Roddy's Bags Again brought to town from Delmarva by the Kings-owner JoAnn and trainer Jim Jr.-it was her eighth win (fifth consecutive) in 10 seasonal starts (15-for-18 lifetime). The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $21.80. "When she won the Lismore (in May at 11-1), no one knew a lot about her," Kirby said of Purrfect Bags. "When she came back here, she had their respect." Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015--"I told (driver) Jason (Bartlett), 'Just get the same trip as last week.' " Bartlett obliged as harness racing trainer Chuck Sylvester asked Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $149,240 final of the Hudson Filly Trot with a pocket-sitting Murderer's Row ($8.50) in a season's-best 1:56.3. A week after skimming the cones to win her elimination (at 11-1), the 3-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover and Housethatruthbuilt offered an encore in the sport's richest race of the evening. With tepid, 2-1 choice (and other elim winner) Bright Baby Blues (Brian Sears) making a break while looking for an eight-hole seat, Lady Winona (Andy Miller) made the lead. Murderer's Row, starting in one notch from "Winona" at the pylons, settled in behind. Only five lasses remained in contention after Katniss (George Brennan) and Marion Millionair (Yannick Gingras) also misbehaved. Lady Winona led through substations of :28.2, :58.1, 1:27.4, getting heat from a three-hole vacating Scented Roses (Ake Svanstedt). That one couldn't sustain her bid, but "Winona" couldn't stall Murderer's Row. The latter angled in and won a protracted stretch battle by a nose. Third went to Scented Roses, barely holding off a closing Wouldn't Itbesweet (Larry Stalbaum), while Oh My Darlin' (Dan Dube)--stablemate to the third-place finisher--earned the last pay envelope. For fourth choice "Murderer's," co-owned by Steve Jones, Mary Kinsey and Ted Gewertz, it was her second (consecutive) win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.40, with the triple returning $62.50. "Quite frankly, she's been a disappointment," Sylvester said of the pre-Hudson seasonal maiden. "I wasn't sure she could step up, but she did." Murderer's Row's dam, Housethatruthbuilt, won this race in 2004 when it was contest at Hawthorne. The lone big-track edition of the Hudson resulted in the stakes record of 1:53.4. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 28, 2015 - Prohibitive harness racing favorite Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $2.60) successfully completed her rounds Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $48,000 Filly and Mare Handicap Pace. Ordered outside her six foes, the millionaires worked around Jonsie Jones (Tyler Buter), then controlled the coterie through fractions of :27.1, :56.1, 1:23.4, 1:51.4. The mile, a tick off her previous local season's-best, found her getting to the line a length-and-a-quarter before a cone-skimming Dune in Red (Jordan Stratton). The one photoed "Jonsie" for second, with Spreester (George Brennan) and Cocoa Beach (Eric Carlson) grabbing the smaller envelopes. For Krispy Apple, a 7-yeart-old daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her eighth win in 18 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $22.60, with the triple returning $91 The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (post time 7:10 PM), with the $149,249 final of the Hudson Filly Trot (3-year-old fillies), the final of the $116,430 Lady Maud (3-year-old pacing fillies) and a pair of $40,000 eliminations for the 61st Yonkers Trot. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 28, 2015 -- If you answered "$149,240 final of Yonkers Raceway's Hudson Filly Trot" to the query, "What is harness racing's richest race Saturday?," feel free to read on. If you answered, "Bright Baby Blues" to "Who had the lousiest luck with the open draw in the Hudson?," feel free to commiserate with the connections. "Everything was going very well," trainer Bob Stewart said of the 3-year-old lass who's earned just under $133,000 this season and more than $247,000 for her career, "until the draw." The draw slapped "Bright" right between her baby blues, landing her behind the always-cherished half-mile track eight-hole. Perhaps it shall be nothing but a minor diversion for the royally-bred lass, whose father, the Stewart-trained Andover Hall, was the 2001 2-year-old trotting colt divisional honoree. Her mother, Bar Slide, earned 2010 divisional honors among 3-year-old trotting fillies. Bright Baby Blues certainly qualified as a bonus baby, originally selling $150,000 at Lexington (2013) to Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. She was then resold to her breeders (Bluestone Farms and Fredericka Caldwell) last September. As a frosh, when she was trained by both Nifty Norman and Joe Holloway (who trained Bar Slide), Bright Baby Blues won twice in a dozen starts with earnings of more than $114,000. "(Bright Baby Blues) is a little smarter than her father (a then-world record holder after a 1:51.3 effort at DuQuoin as a 3-year-old) and the spitting image of her mother," Stewart--who became her trainer this season--said. "The Hudson has part of her schedule all the time. Even though she'd never raced on a half before (last week's elimination, a first-up, 1:56.4 win), she'd trained on one all summer and there was no reason to think she wouldn't handle it. "We'd made some equipment and shoeing changes before the Hambletonian Oaks (third in both elimination and $500,000 final), but nothing coming into the Hudson. "She's just getting better with each start," Stewart said. "Obviously, she's going to have to mix up a lot more in the final, but we have the horse we want and the driver (Brian Sears) we want, so I'm confident. " The final of the Hudson Filly Trot goes as the sixth of 13 races Saturday (first post 7:10 PM, Hudson post approximately 8:50 PM). The card also includes the $116,430 Lady Maud Pace (3-year-old fillies), along with a pair of $40,000 eliminations for the 61st Yonkers Trot. The field for the Hudson, in post position order... 1-Murderer's Row (Jason Bartlett), 2-Lady Winona (Andy Miller), 3-Scent of Roses (Ake Svanstedt), 4-Katniss (George Brennan), 5-Oh My Darlin' (Dan Dube), 6-Marion Millionair (Yannick Gingras), 7-Wouldn't Itbesweet (Larry Stalbaum), 8-Bright Baby Blues (Brian Sears). Note Scent of Roses and Oh My Darlin' race as a common ownership/trainer (Svanstedt) entry Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 26, 2015--After two decades, the return of Yonkers Raceway's International Trot is within sight, thus it makes perfect sense that the field of world-class harness racing participants is beginning to take shape. With just under seven weeks until the million-dollar event--Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10th, to be precise--the connections of Bee a Magician and Magic Tonight have offered unqualified commitments. Bee a Magician, the triple millionairess and 2013 Harness Horse of the Year, has found herself right at home in Westchester. In four Yonkers' starts, the 5-year-old daughter of Kadabra won three of 'em, setting an aged-group track record each time. "We're honored to be invited," Richard (Nifty) Norman, Bee a Magician's trainer, said. "She's proven she gets around Yonkers very well and we have no reason to think that won't continue." Magic Tonight has "2015 Elitlopp winner" stamped on his business card, so obviously, he means business. The 6-year-old son of Andover Hall has earned more than $1.3 million, taking into account his both-sides-of-the-ocean performances. Yonkers' International Trot Selection Committee (no relation to that of the NCAA) is continuing its due diligence, with further invitations/acceptances to be announced in the not-too-distant future. Again, this is a special Saturday afternoon card, with a proposed first post of 2 PM (pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission). As of this writing, the International--scheduled for 10 starters at a distance of mile-and-a-quarter--would go as the program's fourth race (approximate post time 3:25 PM). The International Trot would also be the main cog in a high-end, Pick 5 guaranteed pool (exact number TBA), while Yonkers is surrounding the event with an Oktoberfest on the track apron as well as a hat giveaway (while supplies last) and drawings for terrific prizes, including a vacation to the winning horse's home country. Purse distribution would be the same as all events (winner-50 percent, 2nd-25 percent, 3rd-12 percent, 4th-8 percent, 5th-5 percent). Non-cashing overseas entrants receive $37,500 via a purse supplement, while non-cashing North American entrants receive $10,000). "It's our pleasure to bring back the International Trot," Raceway president Timothy J. Rooney said. "It's been a signature New York race since it debuted at Roosevelt Raceway back in 1959. We took over the race after Roosevelt closed, and it was very well received. "With Yonkers now a major player in the overseas simulcast market, we feel this is the best time to showcase our track to the world by again inviting the best trotters in the world to race here. We have had tremendous cooperation from our horsemen, and all of us are looking forward to it." Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - Hambletonian winner Pinkman and New York Sire Stakes frosh champ Crazy Wow lead a list of 11 harness racing 3-year-olds entered for the $580,000 Yonkers Trot. The 61st edition of Yonkers Raceway premier trotting event offers a pair of $40,000 elimination races this Saturday night (Aug. 29), with the first four finishers in each returning for the half-million-dollar final Saturday night, Sept. 5. First elimination (4th race) 1-Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), 2-Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick), 3-Pinkman (Yannick Gingras), 4-Workout Wonder (Dan Dube), 5-Wings of Royalty (Brian Sears). Second elimination (5th race) 1-Southwind Mozart (Ake Svandstedt), 2-Centurion ATM (Svanstedt also listed), 3-Billy Flynn (Jason Bartlett), 4-Massive Lightning (Tyler Buter), 5-Habitat (Gingras), 6-French Laundry (Jimmy Takter). Note the two Svanstedt horses in this elim are uncoupled due to bona fide separate ownership. Pinkman, Buen Camino and Massive Lightning are the geldings in the group. The 60th Messenger Stakes, with eight declarations, becomes a one-dash-for-the-($500,000) cash event, also set for Saturday night, Sept. 5. The entrants, alphabetically, are... Dealt a Winner, Dude's the Man, In the Arsenal, National Seelster, Revenge Shark, Rock N' Roll World, Roland N Rock Rollin' Ring Afire. Both stakes serves as the second jewel's in their respective gaits Triple Crowns. This Saturday night also includes two stakes finals for the 3-year-old ladies, the $149,240 Hudson (6th race) and $116,430 Lady Maud (7th race) for trotters and pacers, respectively. Post time for Saturday's 13-race card is the usual 7:10 PM. Frank Drucker

 The harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway  on Monday night hosted the $151,624 New York Sire Stakes Pat Quaglietta Trot for 2-year-old fillies. Four divisions, worth $37,556, $37,556, $38,256 and $38,256, comprised the event. Odds-on choice Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr., $3.30)-from post position No. 4--slipped out late, went wide and won the opening grouping in 1:59.1. Credit to Thelimit (Sam Schillaci), who actually beat the winner to the outside, settled for second, a half-length behind. Royal Surprise (Dan Daley) was third. For "Goosebump," a daughter of RC Royalty co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Joe DiScala Jr., Crawford Farms and J&T Silva Stables, it was her third win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21.20, with the triple returning $78. The evening's second Quaglietta event was strictly a two-lass affair, with pole-sitting Dizzy Broad (Morrill Jr., $6.90) picking off 3-5 favorite Posterity (Charlie Norris) from the pocket in a life-best/night's-fastest 1:58.1. The margin was a length-and-a-half, with Dazzling Dollars (Trond Smedshammer) a best-of-the-rest third. For Dizzy Broad, a daughter of Broad Bahn co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Earl Smith Jr., she's now 3-for-5 in her first season. The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $34.80. Monday's third sire stakes event was another two-speed number, with short-price miss Non Stick (Dan Dube, $2.80) handily besting Pampered Winner (Jimmy Takter). From post No. 2, the people's preference two-moved and won by 2½ lengths in 1:59.4. Straight A Student (Mark MacDonald) was a rallying third. For Non Stick, a daughter of Lucky Chucky co-owned (as Svanstedt Racing) by (trainer) Ake Svanstedt and Little E LLC, she's a perfect 4-for-4 to begin her career. The exacta paid $11, with the triple returning $23.40. The evening's final statebred division was a maiden-breaker for Franniegetyourgun (Takter, $15.60). She sat pocketed from post No. 2, then eased past Lima Playtime (Scott Zeron) by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:59.2. Lucky Kristen (Brian Sears) was third. For "Frannie," a Lucky Chucky miss trained by her driver for her driver's wife, Christina, Herbert Holland, Serafino Barone and Steve Bitlisli, is was that first win in four frosh tries. The exacta paid $110.50, with the triple returning $505. The Raceway's live season continues Tuesday with a "French-centric" matinee (first post 1 PM). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 22, 2015 - Dynamic Youth (George Brennan, $5.10) and (Cashontherocs, Brennan again, $29.20) divided Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night glory, winning the $48,000 harness racing co-features. Dynamic Youth, as the 3-2 favorite, just about went the distance in the blind-draw Open Pace. In play from post position No. 6, he retook from Rock on Moe (Dan Dube) after a :26.2 opening quarter-mile. After that, intervals of :55.3, 1:23.3 and 1:51.1 closed the sale. The final margin over a stubborn, first-up Sapphire City (Jason Bartlett) was a length-and-a-half, with a belated The Real One (Pat Lachance), Texican N (Eric Carlson) and Rock on Moe coming away with the minor moolah. For Dynamic Youth, a Bettor's Delight 6-year-old gelding trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Ken Tucci, C&G Racing and J&T Silva Stables, it was his fifth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites paid $15, with the triple returning $53.50. The week's marquee trot, this one handicapped, saw pole-assigned Cashontherocs stalk Sevruga (Lachance), then beat him up the inside. The former threw down fractions of :27.4, :57.1 and 1:26, while parking out Dewycolorintheline (Jordan Stratton). Sevruga had a length-and-a-half into the lane, but Cashontherocs went in, and by. The margin was a half-length in 1:55.1. A wide Not Afraid (Dube) was third, with tepid 3-1 choice Tober (Bartlett) and Outburst (Tyler Buter) completing the cashers. For seventh choice Cashontehrocs, a 6-year-old Cash Hall gelded trained by Scott DiDomenico for owner Larry Fischer, he's now 3-for-21 this season. The exacta paid $55, the triple returned $221 and the superfecta paid $8,725 (base $2 payout). Also Saturday night, Bright Blue Eyes (Brian Sears, $5.60) and Murderer's Row (Bartlett, $25.20) won their respective $20,000 eliminations for the Hudson Filly Trot. The 3-year-olds won in 1:56.3 and 1:57.1, respectively, and shall be joined in next Saturday's $149,240 final by (alphabetically) Katniss, Lady Winona, Marion Millionair, Oh My Darlin', Scented Roses and Wouldn't Itbesweet. Rules of the Road (Bartlett), the 1-2 choice in the first elim, broke early and often and finished last. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (first post 7:10 PM), with the $151,624 New York Sire Stakes Pat Quaglietta Trot (2-year-old fillies). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 21, 2015 - Favored Set Me Up (George Brennan, $5.10) delivered on her public pact Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $48,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.  It was one of Brennan’s six wins on the 12-race program. With the assemblage pared down to six (two ladies came up ill), Set Me Up's original seven-hole became a cozier five-hole. She then worked around Her Own Land (Eric Carlson), laying down early intervals of :27.1 and :56.4. Jonsie Jones (Tyler Buter), the other beneficiary of those inside defections, left and was wrangled back fourth. She them moved to engage the leader toward the 1:24.4 three-quarters, but the soft (:57.3) middle half would give the leader too much of an advantage. Set Me Up owned a length lead into the lane, then widened to 2½ lengths in 1:52.4. Jonsie Jones held second, with Her Own Land,. Know it All (Eric Abbatiello) and Handsoffmycupcake (Jeff Gregory) came away with the remainder. Victoria May N (Steve Smith) was outrun. For set Me Up, a 6-year-old daughter of Shark Gesture co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her sixth win in 20 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $12, with the triple returning $62. The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (first post 7:10 PM), with a pair of $20,000 eliminations for the $189,240 Hudson Filly Trot (3-year-olds) Frank Drucker

Yonkers Raceway Thursday night hosted the $151,624 New York Sire Stakes Jim Crawford Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Travel Playlist (Andy Miller, $2.90) fooled very few in the opening ($75,112) division, two-moving before busing the race wide open (:27.4, :57.4, 1:27, 1:54.3). Seated third early from post position No. 5, the odds-on number worked around early leader Red Roll (Jason Bartlett), then ran up the score. No worse for wear after a scratched-sick from his last schedule start in western New York, tonight's final margin was 5¼ lengths. It was 37-1 shot Cenovis (Scott Zeron) getting second and Red Roll lasting for third. Autotune Hanover (Tyler Buter), the winner of the Sheppard Pace here earlier in the winner, was a non-threatening fourth. For Travel Playlist, an Art Major colt owned by Ronald Michelon and trained by Erv Miller, it was his third win in as many seasonal (NYSS) tries (2-for-2 here). The exacta paid $53.40, with the triple returning $101. Thursday night's second ($76,512) sire stakes event those even less of those same people who weren't fooled by Travel Playlist not be tricked by Joe Larry N Curly (Jim Morrill Jr., $2.60) Leaving from post No. 4, he took over from first leader Skip Jive (Bartlett), the set unpressured intervals of :28, :58, 1:28 and 1:55.4. The final margin was 2¼ lengths. Fine Diamond (George Brennan), who lost touch in the three-hole down the backside, did finally snatch second, with Skip Jive holding third. For Joe Larry N Curly, a son of Roll with Joe co-owned by (trainer) Mark Harder, Joseph Jannuzzelli and Dawn Colucci, he's now 4-for-6 this season (1-for-3 here). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $4.50, with the triple returning $24.80. The Raceway's live season continues Friday night (first post 7:10 PM). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 20, 2015--Summer has flown by in typical fashion and parents and students are gearing up for the beginning of the school year. For most, that means new clothes, shoes, and lots of school supplies. But for many, getting the school supplies their children need to start the year off right can be a financial burden. According to statistics provided by the National Retail Federation, the average parent spends hundreds of dollars on back-to-school items, including $101.18 on school supplies, $355.76 on clothing and shoes and $212.35 on electronics. To help families and students in need, the City of Yonkers is hosting its fourth annual "Backpack to School" drive to collect school supplies for elementary students who need them. That initiative just received a huge boost with the donation of 300 new backpacks from Empire City Casino. That's not the only boost New York State schools and teachers receive from Empire City, the Yonkers casino and raceway generates nearly $300 million annually for state education. In the past 8 years operating as a casino, the property has generated over $2.3 billion that has gone directly to fund education in New York. "Families with children returning to school have a heavy financial burden at this time of year, and it's important that the community lend a helping hand," said Empire City's president, Tim Rooney. "We're proud of the funds we generate each year to support teachers and students across the state and encourage all who are able to do what they can to support the Backpack to School Drive." For more information on the "Backpack to School" program and drop off locations, visit www.cityofyonkers.com/government/mayor-s-office/initiatives/backpack-to-school-drive. Frank Drucker

The harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway Monday night hosted the $150,224 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings. The event, honoring the memory of "Tootie," the man who help turn Roosevelt Raceway into a household word(s) during the sport's golden age and made the International Trot a world-class happening. Whether this group of plebes eventually becomes world class is to be determined, but 1-5 favorite Dayson (Jeff Gregory, $2.40) has proven to be the leader of the gang thus far. Starting from the pole in the second of two, $75,112 divisions, the Conway Hall gelding had to work for it. He took the best shots from second-choice Reve Royale (Brian Sears), then spurted away to a 2¼-length win in a zippy, life-best 1:57.4 (author's aside...the Gregory-driven Dejarmbro owns the 2-year-old colt local record (1:57 in 2010), while the Sears-escorted Tirade Hanover has the gelding standard (1:57.3 in 2012). Dog Gone Cupid (Tyler Buter), put in play early, did get second, with Reve Royale third. For Dayson, trained by Howard Okusko for co-owners Margaret & Amy Butler, it was his fifth win in as many seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.60, with the triple returning $60. "He was tested tonight, and he was up to it," Gregory said, referring to Reve Royale first stringing Dayson out to get the lead in turn 2, then pulling pocket early in the final turn. The opening Barasch event saw Sears and second choice Allerage Echo ($6.10)-leaving from post position No. 6--go from first lead to first home. In between, he surrendered the front to Credevie (Trond Smedshammer), before blowing by in the lane. The final margin was 2¼ lengths (same as Dayson) in a life-best 1:59.4, with Master Class (George Brennan) a first-up second and Royal Bachelor (Jason Bartlett) third. Credevie, the favorite at just over even-money, faded to fourth. For Allerage Echo, a Crazed gelded trained by George Ducharme for owner Ken Jacobs, he's now 3-for-5 to begin his career after a third consecutive win The exacta paid $55, with the triple returning $221. "I bought him off his first two qualifiers," Jacobs said. "He impressed me, but I thought his gait was too high. "George (Ducharme) said he has some talent, and we're looking forward to the rest of the sire stakes season." Frank Drucker

What started out as a "mundane" harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway Saturday night wound up lending itself to any number of stories and sidebars. Let's run down the plotlines, shall we... The Features--A pair of sixes, in Great Vintage (Dan Dube, $6.10) in 1:51.2, and Luminosity (George Brennan, $6.70) in a life-best 1:53.3, won the evening's $48,000 co-features for pacers and trotters, respectively. The Record-Sharer--Forty Five Red (Mark MacDonald, $4.60) held sway in the $35,000 Open Handicap Pace for 4-year-olds, and he did so in 1:50.1. That effort matched Crombie A's three-week-old, all-age track record, while setting a new one for Forty Five Red's age group. The time also matched the son of If I Can Dream's own life-best performance. The Record-Sharer, Part II--Luminosity's previously-proclaimed 1:53.3 trotting work night equaled that of Melady's Monet for season's fastest locally (set four weeks ago). The Speed--Ten of the evening's dozen races were essentially won wire-to-wire, or at least by the horse who was moving to the lead at the quarter. The other two races were won by one out of the pocket and one sitting a three-hole. The "slowest" of the 10 pacing events went in 1:52.3, while the non-Luminosity trot "trudged home" in 1:55.2. The Milestone-in-Waiting--Take My Picture, a best-of-the-record while chasing Luminosity in the trotting feature, now has career earnings of $998,386. The 8-year-old Classic Photo gelding, who once upon a time was a Yonkers Trot runner-up, is technically a millionaire if you throw in his Racing Under Saddle earnings. The Humans--Dube won four races, Brennan three. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (first post 7:10 PM), featuring the $150,224 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot (2-year-old colts/geldings). Frank Drucker

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